Virginia Tech coaches announced Tuesday that true freshman walk-on Sam Rogers would be the starter at fullback in the Hokies' opener against Alabama.
Rogers (5-feet-10, 220 pounds) was a first-team all-state performer as a utility player in high school at Mechanicsville (Va.) Hanover. He saw most of his time at quarterback but also played wide receiver and running back. Rogers chose to walk-on with the Hokies over scholarship offers from FCS programs Bucknell and St. Francis (Pa.).
Rogers earned the nickname "Drago" from Hokies receiver coach Aaron Moorehead because the coach thinks he bears a resemblance to the Ivan Drago character from "Rocky IV." When the media asked Rogers about the nickname, he responded, "I haven't seen 'Rocky IV.' Sorry about that."
Last week, Hokies running back coach Shane Beamer told reporters that coaches felt Rogers could line up in the slot, if needed, and create some mismatches with linebackers.
Rogers beat out fellow freshman Jerome Wright (6-2, 221) for the fullback job; Wright signed with the Hokies in February as a tailback.
In other Virginia Tech running back news, tailback J.C. Coleman told reporters Tuesday that he hopes to return to practice next week and then play against the Crimson Tide.
Coleman sprained both his ankles during a drill last week and is rehabbing. He is the Hokies' leading returning rusher. If he can't play against the Tide, redshirt freshman Trey Edmunds would get the start. Edmunds might be the fastest of the Hokies' backs. His backup would be Chris Mangus, who was moved from wide receiver early in camp.